This course aims at a thorough understanding of Hellenistic literature with special focus on its embedding in contemporary Hellenistic culture and history, the function of mythology and cult, the tension between tradition and innovation and between romanticism and realism, the experimental use of genres and the relationship between poetry and science. Students learn to apply several methodologies of adequate literary analysis, which enables them to give their autonomous but well-founded interpretation of this literary treasure.
Preferably a thorough knowledge of ancient Greek; if this is not the case, one is to contact the lecturer, who will propose an individualized route in mutual consultation (e.g. a thesis based on reading in translation).
Is also included in other courses
A small amount of the study time is spent on a limited lecture and seminar in which an introduction into Hellenistic literature is given per genre. Following on this, a number of specific themes or genres are discussed, also from the point of view of the current scientific debate, and some relevant Greek text fragments are analyzed exemplary. The rest of the study time is reserved for personal study: reading packet Hellenistic poetry in translation, thesis on one or more Hellenistic works, analyzed according to the methodologies taught in the course.
The lecture wants to convey a thorough insight into Greek literature of the Hellenistic period, with specific attention to the following aspects: embedding into the climate of the period, tradition and modernization, the role of mythology and cult, the blurring of genres, the relation between poetry and science. Furthermore, the lecture wants to supply the armamentarium and the methodologies that make the independent literary interpretation of this inheritance possible.
a limited syllabus will be available
K.J. Gutzwiller, A Guide to Hellenistic Literature, Oxford 2007
R.L.Fox, Hellenistic Literature and Culture, in The Oxford History of the Classical World (edd.J. Boardman et alii), Oxford,1986, pp.338-364.
A. Wouters, Hellenistische Poëzie: Traditie en Experiment, in Hermeneus, 63 (1991), pp. 66-78 en pp. 149-152 (argued bibliography).
A. Wouters, Dichters in het laboratorium. De hellenistische poëzie in haar context, in Kleio, 24, 2 (1995), pp. 57-82.
The evaluation is based on a written paper and an oral exam (with preparation in writing and the possibility to consult the syllabus) on this paper.